Scituate Library Foundation : Frequently-Asked Questions

Why Expand and Renovate the Library?

Library Director Jessi Finnie takes us on a tour of the current Library building and grounds. Watch and learn why we need to renovate and expand our Library.

Why Expand and Renovate the Library?
Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a renovated and expanded Library?
Our Library is over 35 years old and is straining under necessary maintenance requirements and the increasing use of the facility. In addition, the current facility has not kept pace with the changes in the way our community uses the building.

How does our community use the Library?
Last year alone, more than 155,000 people used the Library and nearly 260,000 items were checked out (a 25% increase in the past 10 years). Over 15,000 people came to programs at the Library last year (a 460% increase in attendance in the last ten years)! More people are using the Library for tutoring space, meeting space, and computer access as well as cultural and educational programs. Improved technology will also enhance electronic resource accessibility to important databases, downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, digital magazines, and streaming media. The new Library will meet these needs and provide a facility for our future.

What is the Expansion and Renovation Program?
The Program is the end result of years of careful research and planning by the Town of Scituate, our Library Director and Trustees, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) to identify how our aging facility can be transformed to meet the needs of Scituate residents today and in the future.

The proposed plan will create a state-of-the-art Library that will offer access to an array of resources (books, DVDs, ebooks, etc.) as well as offering enormous benefits to the community through enhanced public meeting spaces, room for expanded programming for all ages, internet and WIFI access, and private study spaces.

Highlights of the expansion and renovation:
- an increase of usable space by 40%
- expanded children’s area relocated to the lower level with study areas and adjacent program rooms
- additional public meeting rooms, three quiet study rooms, and a homework room
- expanded computer access and a technology training lab
- state-of-the-art technology allowing improved efficiencies and access to electronic resources
- a separate teen area
- full handicapped access and facilities
- double the available parking
- high performance “green” building, including LEED certification

What’s it going to cost?
The total project will cost $12 million. Of that, $5 million is funded by the state (through the MBLC grant). The remaining $7 million is to be raised through a combination of private funding and a debt exclusion override.

How are we going to pay for it?
The Town is receiving $5 million from the state through an approved grant. The remaining $7 million will be funded through a debt exclusion override approved by the voters of Scituate in Dec. 2013. The amount financed through the override will be reduced by the amount of funds privately donated. The Library Foundation has set a fundraising goal of $2 million in private donations, which will reduce the override to $5 million. To date, approx. $750,000 has been privately donated.

Will all of my donation go to the project?
Yes. All dollars raised for the library building project go directly to the building costs. No campaign-related expenses are financed with these donations. 100% of your tax-deductible donation goes towards the new Library.

What’s a debt exclusion override?
It is a financing plan, presented to Scituate residents for vote, which would allow the town to obtain a loan to pay for the new Library. This loan would be for a 20-year period and would be paid by an increase of taxes to residents for the 20-year period.

When would the Library renovation and expansion take place?
If the town approves a debt exclusion override, the state will release the grant funds and construction can begin. If all goes according to plan, the groundbreaking would be in spring 2015 and completion scheduled 14-16 months later.

What happens to the Library when the new construction begins? Will we be able to get books and use the building?
The Library will find a new and temporary “home” in Scituate during construction. While the full archive of materials may not be available, the Library will continue to loan books and work with its 28 other network member libraries to provide for Scituate’s needs.

How does the Library support the Scituate school curriculum?
The Youth Services and Teen staff at the Library work closely with town teachers and administrators, visit classrooms, provide student instruction for research, electronic resource access and book selection, offer training for parents, and purchase resources to support the school curriculum.

Will the new Library need more staff?
Improved technology, thoughtful design, and improved systems should allow the current staffing levels to service the larger facility.

Will the new building increase operational costs for the Library?
The improved systems and “greener” building should help reduce operating costs and it is not anticipated that new staff will be required.

Will there be more parking?
Yes. The available parking spaces will double under the new plan.

How many meeting rooms will there be?
There will be 3 public meeting rooms and 3 quiet study rooms. Scituate residents will be able to reserve these rooms at no cost for non-profit meeting use.

Can larger programs be held at the renovated and expanded Library?
The new facility will have a program room that can accommodate up to 110 people and there will be double the number of parking spaces available. Last year, over 15,000 people came to the Library for programs.

What services does the library offer online?
The Library already offers downloadable e-books, audiobooks, magazines and movies that can be accessed from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. The expanded Library will have even better technology and more access available to these and other electronic resources, as well as training space for those wishing to learn more about our digital assets.

Will there be art displays in the expanded Library?
Yes. The new design provides beautiful gallery spaces for revolving art exhibitions.

What will happen to the children’s area and children’s programs?
The children’s room will be relocated on the lower level, separate from other Library areas, and will include an adjacent program and homework room.

Will seniors have a dedicated area?
Seniors will have access to all meeting and quiet study rooms. In addition, a gallery of comfortable reading chairs will be located near the adult fiction/large print and periodical areas.

Can I use video conferencing in the meeting rooms?
Yes. You can access the Library’s wifi services in all the rooms and video chat with business associates or family around the world.

What will happen to the History room?
The Local History/Trustees room will remain on the first floor of the Library.

Will the Friends of Scituate Library have space in the expanded Library?
Yes. The Friends will have a dedicated room for their storage and meetings.

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